Today’s guest post is from Romy Block MD & Arielle Levitan MD, authors of The Vitamin Solution and co-founders of Vous Vitamin.
Confused about vitamins? One day the news states Garcinia Cambogia is effective for weight loss, and the next we hear that supplements are contaminated and dangerous. Vitamins are a confusing topic, but we are here to help.
As medical doctors who trained at Stanford, Tufts, NYU and Northwestern among other places, we are prepared to provide you with the truth about vitamins and how they relate to your health.
Vitamin Myth #1: Taking a multivitamin is of no use
Not long ago there was widespread media attention about a study comparing a large group of people taking a generic multivitamin to a group who was not taking a vitamin. The study found that the group taking the vitamins did not live longer than the other group. From that, the “taking a multivitamin is of no use” myth was born.
We do NOT believe this study disproves the value of vitamins for all individuals. We believe the study is flawed for many reasons – most importantly, that generic, off the shelf multivitamins contain too little of many of the nutrients most of us need and too much of certain ingredients that may be harmful at those levels.
For us, the take away from this study is not all people and not all multivitamins are created equal. Figuring out what vitamins you should take, based on your individual diet, health history and lifestyle is critical to determining how a multivitamin fits into your regimen.
Vitamin Myth #2: If I take lots of vitamins, my body will absorb only what it needs and pee out the rest.
Actually, taking high doses of certain vitamins can be dangerous. Specifically, fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins D, E, A and K can cause toxicity if you take excessive doses. Symptoms of vitamin toxicity include severe headaches, liver function abnormalities and other consequences.
Furthermore, one large study suggested that even moderate doses of Vitamin A can increase rates of cancer in certain populations. Likewise, excessive heavy metals may play a role in certain liver diseases and dementias such as Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin Myth #3: All vitamin brands are equivalent, and if they are sold in the store, they must be safe.
Unfortunately, the vitamin industry is not regulated by the FDA in the same way that prescription and other over-the-counter medications are, and therefore, quality control can be poor. Studies analyzing off the shelf vitamins have shown that some products contain contaminants and other unlisted ingredients that can cause serious health problems.
Find a reputable, high quality brand that adheres to extreme standards of purity in their manufacturing process. Check labels for USP or GMP certification to ensure that manufacturing practices are meeting a high standard.Think you know about #vitamins? Here are 6 myths your doctors may not tell you. #wellness Click To Tweet
Vitamin Myth #4: I can take the same vitamins as my kids, spouse or friends.
Do you eat the same diet, have the same health conditions and live the same lifestyle as these other people in your life? Probably not. At each stage of life we have different deficiencies depending on our health status and what our bodies need. Even the climate where we live is a factor in which nutrients we need since the amount of sun exposure helps influence our levels of Vitamin D .
Vitamin Myth #5: If I eat a healthy diet, I probably do not need any vitamins.
While it is theoretically possible to get all of your nutrients via diet, it is not probable that you will. For example, people who eat a diet filled with fruits and vegetables get many essential nutrients, but they likely avoid certain foods, such as red meat, that provide other important nutrients, possibly leaving them deficient in Vitamin B12 and iron.
Additionally, certain vitamins are hard to obtain in most diets. For example, Vitamin D3 can only be found in significant amounts in liver and wild caught salmon.
Also, consider the iodine dilemma of the healthy eater. In using natural sea salt or Kosher salt, the healthy eater may be missing out on the recommended daily allowance of iodine (found in iodized salt), which is essential for thyroid health. As we eliminate processed foods from our diets, we are losing one source of this important nutrient. That however does not mean we should take massive amounts of iodine – too much can harm your thyroid, so find that safe amount, likely 150-200mcg daily.
Vitamin Myth #6: My vitamin regimen should never change.
For most of us, our diet and lifestyle vary from month to month, particularly with the change of seasons, which means our nutritional needs naturally change. We suggest reevaluating your daily multivitamin composition at least every 6-12 months to fit with your evolving health and nutrient intake.
Likewise, some days may call for extra boosts in certain vitamins. For example, an intense workout may require B vitamins and potassium or excessive alcohol intake may leave you needing a particular blend of nutrients which defend against dehydration and electrolyte depletion.
Many of these myths were born from the assumption that we all should take the same vitamins and minerals, but the reality is we are not all the same. We all need different nutrients based on our individual diets, lifestyles and health issues. Find out more about what vitamins may be right for you in our book The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health. Also read more at www.vousvitamin.com..
Arielle Levitan, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician and the cofounder of Vous Vitamin, LLC. She is the author of The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health to be published November 2015. She attended Stanford University and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and has served as chief medical resident for the Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center’s Evanston Hospital Program and as a clinical instructor for its medical school. She has a special interest in women’s health and preventive medicine and currently practices general internal medicine on the North Shore of Chicago, where she teaches medical students on-site.
Romy Block, MD, is a board-certified specialist in endocrine and metabolism medicine, member of American Thyroid Association, and the cofounder of Vous Vitamin, LLC. She is the author of The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health to be published November 2015. She attended Tufts University and Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. She completed residency training in internal medicine at North Shore University Hospital—North Shore-LIJ and did a fellowship at New York University. She practices on the North Shore of Chicago, where she specializes in thyroid disorders and pituitary diseases.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.